We have eaten a lot of Pho and have attempted to bob and weave through the absolutely mental scooter traffic in Hanoi. Beer here is 5 dong. Essentially 15 cents. I love it already.
We went on a free highly informative walking tour (did you know that most of Vietnam doesn’t identify as any major religion? However, 4 million of the population in Hanoi is catholic (french influence) Also, November is a very very popular time in Vietnam to get married so there were couples everywhere getting their photos taken…with very strange backdrops).
It poured rain most of the day so we decided to go visit the Vietnams women’s museum for the day. WOW. This museum was really awesome and incredibly well done. Every floor was a different aspect of female life in Vietnam. One floor in particular that fascinated me the ‘marriage and birth’ floor which detailed rituals, traditions, beliefs of different groups of vietnamese people from all over the country. I found it highly entertaining and also super interesing. They have so many neat traditions! If no one slaughters a buffalo if I decide to get married the wedding is definitely off.
Additionally the floor detailing all the woman involved in the war efforts was incredible. Most people should know Vietnam’s complicated and tragic histories particularly involving the United States but I got to say they celebrate their women in a way that most western countries don’t. A LOT of woman have received the highest military honors for their efforts during the revolution and during the american war for helping on the front lines, for being medics, for fighting and leading troops into battle, for bringing down jets?!, I mean I’m not surprised I know women are awesome and completely capable but it was really great to see them celebrated and honored in this way, instead of being overlooked or there efforts being minimized by history.
We are heading north to Sapa and going on a 3 day trek through the national park and the countryside and doing a homestay with some local vietnamese people now. I’m excited to explore more of this incredibly beautiful country. It’s however hard to hear about the risks of unexploded ordnances that litter the countryside from the american war still blowing people up. The haunting aspects of destruction on a grand scale. The way Americans are framed here.
In light of everything that is happening in the world at large right now I just want to simply say that we must always remember that every choice our country chooses represents us everywhere and it is not ever forgotten by the countries and the people we choose to act against. Violence only breeds more violence. Ingrained hate passed from generations is difficult to dissemable. Our actions aren’t forgotten once we pack up and leave and the headlines quit covering it. It’s pretty easy to see why there is hate if you look, read, and think past 90% of the bullshit we’re all spoon fed.
We want to leave a legacy that our children, grandchildren, friends, family won’t be embarrassed to say where they come from.
We want to leave a legacy where it wouldn’t be tragic poetic justice to have an American (or anyone) 50ish years later blown up by a bomb dropped from their own country meant for an unknown ‘evil’ other.